Perl Vs Python: What Are The Key Differences

This tutorial explains the major differences between Perl Vs Python programming languages along with the features, benefits, area of use, etc:

This article aims at improving the knowledge of our readers about Python vs Perl programming languages. The focus would be to bring out the differences between these two high-level languages.

The article begins with an introduction of Perl and Python, along with a little information about the history of each of the languages. We will then dive a little deeper into the features of Perl and Python. Further ahead in the article, you will get an understanding of the benefits that these languages offer.

Perl Vs Python

Perl Vs Python

To understand how we can make the best use of these languages, we will also discuss the areas of their use. Finally, we have a comparison table for our learners to have a quick understanding of Perl Vs Python in brief.

Some of the FAQs linked to this topic are answered at the end of the article to help our readers with the queries they might have on this topic.

Perl Vs Python

What Is Perl

perl 5

Perl is a high-level, interpreter-based, general-purpose dynamic programming language. Larry Wall developed it in 1987. It was developed as a scripting language for making reports. However, it has undergone a lot of changes and the latest version of Perl is Perl 6 that has been renamed as Raku.

=> Official website for Perl

History of Perl

Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, started working on it in 1987. He was then working with an IT firm named Unisys as a programmer. This version of Perl was a scripting language that aided in Report making. The version was released on Dec 18 the same year.

Perl 2 was released in 1988, Perl 3 was released in 1989 and Perl 4 was released in 1991. Perl 4 did not have any change from its version 3, but instead, it was released with strong reference documentation. It was in the year 1994 that Perl 5 was released. This version included many recent additions to the language like Modules, References, Objects, etc.

Originally, Perl was named Pearl. Later Larry Wall renamed it to Perl. Although the latest version of Perl available is Perl 6, it was renamed Raku. So today, Perl refers to Perl 5. Perl 7 has also been announced. Its release date is yet to be declared. Perl 7, when released, would be a successor to Perl 5.

Perl Foundation is a nonprofit organization that continuously focuses on the development of Perl and Raku through having forums for open discussion. It is based in Holland, Michigan.

What Is Python


Python is an interpreter-based high-level programming language. It was created by Guido van Rossum and was released for use in 1991. It is used in Data Analytics, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc.

Python provides support for various programming paradigms – Object Oriented programming, Structured programming, and some features of functional programming. Contract Programming and Logic programming are also supported by Python, but with the use of extensions.

The syntax of this language is not complicated and comparatively easy as compared to other languages like C, Pascal, etc. Thus, it is relatively easy to learn and master Python code.

=> Official website of Python

History of Python

Guido van Rossum, the creator of Python who was a dutch programmer, started working on Python in late 1980. It was released in 1991. Python was a successor to the ABC programming language, and it gained quick popularity in Rapid Application Development.

Python 2.0 was released in 2000. After 8 years, Python 3.0 was released in 2008. Thereafter, many versions of Python 3.0 have been released.


Features of Perl:

  • Perl offers Procedural programming with variables, expressions, code blocks, subroutines, etc.
  • It has many built-in functions to support text processing and operating system functions.
  • Data Management tasks can be handled using associative arrays.
  • It is a highly expressive language, so even for large programs, the code written in Perl is short.
  • Perl which now refers to its latest version, Perl 5 is a CGI scripting language that can be used in Network Programming, Finance, System Administration, etc. to name a few.
  • Perl 5 added features to support data structures, object-oriented programming, etc.
  • Code written in Raku which was originally known as Perl 6 can be called from within a Perl program and vice-versa also holds true.

Features of Python:

  • It is easy to understand, learn, and master.
  • Debugging Python code is easy as the code is simple.
  • Python code can be run on various Operating Systems and hardware.
  • Python coding allows complex coding as needed in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
  • Python provides a lot of pre-built libraries, making coding easier.
  • Database integration with MySQL, Oracle, etc. is possible in Python.
  • It is possible to integrate Python with other programming languages like C, C++, Java, etc.
  • It provides automatic garbage collection.


Benefits of Perl:

  • It is easier to code as there is no need to worry about whitespaces.
  • It allows the user to write the same code in different styles.
  • It has built-in functions to handle operations at the Operating System level.
  • It allows easy identification of variables due to the use of symbols like ‘@’, ‘%’ etc before them.
  • Operations related to Input/Output are much faster using Perl.
  • Report generation can be done easily using Perl.
  • It has powerful String Comparison options that aid in writing quick and short code.

Benefits of Python:

  • It is easy to learn and understand due to its simple syntax.
  • Each line of code does not require ending with a ‘;’ because of the use of whitespaces and indentation.
  • It can be used to easily create large applications and websites.
  • It has impressive support of libraries due to which its areas of use are vast – as in Machine Learning, Big Data, Web Programming, Desktop Applications, etc.
  • Larger programs can be written with fewer code lines.

Areas Of Use

Perl area of uses include:

  • It is mainly used for writing CGI Scripts in
    • Large projects like Bugzilla, Splash, RT, etc.
    • Some of the very busy websites like IMDb, Live Journal, Slashdot, etc.
  • It is used as a System Programming Language in Debian (a Linux distribution).
  • It is also used as a scripting language for
    • Binding the system and interfaces together, which otherwise are not interoperable.
    • Processing large volumes of data for tasks like Report generation etc.

Python area of uses include:

  • Python is used as a web programming language to design large websites or web applications. Some of the popular websites built using Python are – Google, Netflix, Instagram, Spotify, etc.
  • It is also used for developing gaming apps.
  • It is also used for Big Data analytics.
  • Due to its large support of libraries, it is used in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Python Vs Perl – General Comparison

It is a high level, interpreter based, general purpose dynamic programming language.It is a high level, interpreter based, general purpose programming language.
Perl can be downloaded from for Unix/Linux, macOS or Windows operating system.Python can be downloaded from for Unix/Linux, macOS, Windows etc. operating systems.
Perl aimed to simplify the report making process which later went through a lot of changes and revisions to include many new features and capabilities.Python aimed at simplifying the code writing process to write simple and logical code for small and large projects and applications.
Perl code is not very simple as compared to code written in Python.Python code is simpler and easier to understand.
Perl has an impressive support of libraries and so can handle Operations at OS level using built-in functions.Python needs the support of third-party libraries to handle such operations.
The OOP support offered is limited.Python has a great support for Object Oriented Programming.
Code blocks are marked and identified using braces.Code blocks are marked and identified by the use of indentation.
Whitespaces do not hold a significance in Perl.In python whitespaces hold a significance and can cause syntax errors.
It allows for easy text processing as support for Regular expressions is a part of Perl language.Python requires the use of external functions to handle Regular expressions.
Perl uses semicolon(;) to end a code line.Semicolons (;) are not required at the end of each code line.
Perl uses a file extension of ‘.pl’.Python files have an extension of ‘.py’.

Perl Vs Python – Code Comparison

Below is a piece of code written in Perl and the same code written in Python. The code adds two numbers that are accepted as user input.

Code Example

Perl code example:

// Take User Input
Print “\n Input the first number”;
$N1 = <STDIN>;
Print “\n Input the second number”;
$N2 = <STDIN>;
// Call the subroutine
addition( $N1, $N2 );
// Move parameters to variables, add the numbers and display the result
sub addition {
    $a = $_[0];
    $b = $_[1];
    $sum = $a + $b;
    print "The sum of numbers entered is: $sum ";

Python code example:

// Accept User Input
N1 = input(‘Enter the first number: ’)
N2 = input(‘Enter the second number: ’)
// Adding of the Numbers
Sum = float(N1) + float(N2)
// Display of the Result
print(‘The sum of the numbers is:’ ,Sum)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Can Python replace Perl?

Answer: Python and Perl are high-level programming languages that were invented to serve different purposes. Perl was developed by Larry Wall as a Unix-based scripting language for making reports easily. Whereas Python was developed to offer code readability to its users for writing small and large programs.

Q #2) Why is Python so popular?

Answer: Python is popular mainly because when compared to other high-level programming languages, writing code in Python is easy and simple. This makes it a preferred language for use, even for beginners.

Q #3) Is Perl dead?

Answer: Perl is not dead, but its use has declined over time due to various other scripting languages that offer better features. However, recently the release of Perl 6 has been announced and whenever it releases, it might bring in a better future for Perl and its users.

Q #4) Where is Perl used?

Answer: Although Perl was designed intending to make reports easily, thus in the beginning, Perl mainly offered text manipulation features that aided in easy report making. However, with the new releases of Perl, it has added many new features and is now used in areas like Network Programming, Finance, System Administration, etc.

Q #5) Is Perl frontend or backend?

Answer: Perl was designed for making text manipulations and extracting reports easily. However, with its new releases, a lot of new features were added and it is now used to developing applications. It can be used for front-end as well as back-end programming.

Q #6) Is Python easy for beginners?

Answer: Python was designed with the intent of making the code writing process simple. It is thus easy to understand and master Python code. So for beginners, Python is a good programming language choice.

Recommended Reading =>> Python tutorial series for beginners

Q #7) Can Python become faster?

Answer: Python as compared to languages like Java, is slower because it is an interpreter-based language. Moreover, it was designed to make programming easier and writing programs faster rather than making the Program execution faster. However, improvement in the program execution speed is now focussed on in the upcoming releases.

Q #8) What is Python not good for?

Answer: Python is a good programming language and is preferred for desktop and web applications. However, it is to be noted that due to the comparatively slow speed as compared to other high-level programming languages like Java, it is not preferred for the development of mobile applications.


This brings us to the end of the article and as always, we expect that this article was of help to our readers. We have tried our best to briefly introduce you to Perl vs. Python programming language. The article covered the features offered by Perl and Python, along with a brief introduction to the history of each of these languages.

The article also covered the benefits and areas of use of Perl and Python programming languages. Hopefully, the comparison table towards the end of the article would have given you a quick view of Perl vs Python performance and features and code style.

Last, the FAQ that we covered might have helped you in getting quick and brief answers to your queries linked with this topic. We believe that we have been successful in enhancing your knowledge of Perl Vs Python.